National Geographic : 1949 May
613 Fenno Jacobs from Black Star "The Schmoos Are Coming!" Hopeful Berlin Youngsters Wait for a Shower of Gifts Operation Vittles always draws a big audience, but on a bright Sunday last fall it seemed that all Berlin was perched in trees and ruins around Tem pelhof. The reason: between 1 and 3 o'clock, it was an nounced, candy bars attached to tiny parachutes would be dropped. Around some of the candy bars would be wrapped balloon replicas of the schmoo, the little animal familiar to readers of the Li'l Abner comic strip. For every schmoo turned into its Berlin office, CARE offered a 10-pound package of lard, one of postwar Germany's scarcest food items. Children began taking their posts at dawn. By noon the crowd had grown to thousands. Whole families watched anxiously as each plane roared overhead, hoping that lucky chance would find them in the right place for snaring a gift. At 3 o'clock the parachutes floated down from a C-54-and the scramble was on. Next day, CARE announced that 85 packages of lard had been handed out in exchange for schmoos. CARE's stunt made a huge hit with the Berlin populace, although one Soviet-licensed newspaper told its readers that sandbags, rather than candy bars, were dropped.